The Truth About Why Henry VIII Was So Fat

Iconic monarch. Cornerstone of the English Reformation. Dedicated collector of wife heads and employer of potty buddies ... None of these descriptions can do justice to Henry VIII, at least not so well as this one: dude was fat. He was chunky like premium fudge ice cream. He had, from an objective historical perspective, dumps like a truck.

Which is strange, right? For all of our contemporary concerns about the effects of saturated fats and the staggering amount of sugar in your standard Dr. Pepper, King Henry VIII managed to get good and rotund without ever seeing a Snickers bar up close, all while earning a reputation as the meanest man this side of Mount Whoville.

And as it turns out, those two things might have been related. According to recent findings, the Tudor king was fat and angry for the same reason as your boilerplate Menards lumber salesman: he blew out his leg playing sports.

We can't all be athletes

A recent story from The Independent blows the lid off the whole story. When Henry "Huck" Tudor was a mere lad of 44, he was doing what any responsible world leader does for fun: encouraging people on horseback to try and hit him with a big stick as hard as they could.

It was January of 1536, and the king was participating in a jousting tournament when the unthinkable occurred: he got jousted real bad. The monarch was knocked off of his horse. Then the monarch's horse was knocked on top of him. Henry was knocked unconscious for about two hours, and his hangers-on thought for a minute that they might be out of a job.

The news wasn't great when Henry woke up: his legs, two of his top four favorite limbs to have, were all busted up, exacerbating already present ulcerations on his majesty's lower half and greatly limiting his mobility. Now, historians speculate that the tumble may have also caused a severe brain injury, changing the king's personality and transforming him into the despotic ladykiller we're all familiar with today.